Finding Out What’s In It: Congress Passed Another Bill Without Reading It

I supposed if I refer to “that dam bill” someone will think I am swearing. But in this case I’m referring to the funding of a dam on the Ohio River. It was in the government budget/debt ceiling bill and not many who voted for it knew it was in there:

McCain told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Wednesday he had “never even heard of” the project and questioned why it had been included in the bipartisan plan to end the budget crisis.

“They stuck in some stuff which, of course, they couldn’t have gotten through a regular legislative process,” McCain said. “That is disgraceful.”

The Congress quadrupled the budget for the Olmsted Locks and Dam. I have no idea how many actually knew they were doing so when they voted in favor of the bill.

But Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, tells Fox News she put the dam funding in the budget deal because “there is no money” to fund the project otherwise. The House previously approved $1.7 billion for the project.

Feinstein, D-Calif., says if the dam was not funded, all barge traffic, a significant source of commerce on the Ohio River, would be suspended. She says the funding was included in the budget bill because it is the only spending bill moving.

“It’s a series of locks on a dam. If it isn’t funded, it shuts down,” Feinstein said. “It’s in the public good.”

That’s just weird. Why can’t Ohio and Kentucky fund the dam if it is in their interests to do so? Why shouldn’t the companies that want to make money transporting cargo up and down the river be responsible for funding the improvements?

The speed (or lack thereof) with which this dam has been built doesn’t make it seem that important to anyone.

The dam project, which was approved in 1988, has drastically soared over its original budget of $775 million, and the new bill will raise its funding to nearly $3 billion.

Supporters of the project, called the Olmsted Locks and Dam, say it is necessary to reduce bottlenecking at the crossing of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Despite being approved over 20 years ago, the project is still described as “under construction between Illinois and Kentucky” on the Army Corps of Engineers’ website.

Hopefully, some reporter (from another country, let’s assume) will start looking at the unions and construction companies involved in this handout and trace back their relationships to Dianne Feinstein. Don’t forget how this works:

(Obviously, this is a leftist video and I’m not advocating his proffered solution at the end.)